Simone Veil, a Shoah survivor, was a prominent public and political figure. But she was also a great woman of OSE and an honorary member of our Administrative Council. OSE honors her still vivid memory.
A prominent public and political figure… :
- November, 26th of 1974, Simone Veil, Minister of Health at the time, presented her project to amend the legislation on abortion to the General Assembly. “I would like to share with you my beliefs as a woman. I am sorry to do so in front of this assembly almost entirely composed of men.”
- July, 17th of 1979, Simone Veil becomes the first women to chair the European Parliament. Europe is the second great fight of her life. A battle that she was a part of as soon as the Second World War ended. “As soon as I returned from deportation, I thought to myself that the only solution, if we wanted to keep this from happening to our children and grandchildren was to create Europe”, she said.
- In 2010, Jean D’Ormesson welcomed Simone Veil under the dome of the Académie Française. A few quotes from his speech:
“Allow me to put it simply: for someone who walked across the fire of hell alive and had to say goodbye to many of her candid illusions, you do not appear to be very cynical, but rather very sweet and even cheerful and full of life.”
“What you are, in fact, is an eternal rebel. You are a feminist, but you do not agree with the theory that denies any difference between men and women. You are the defender of the weak, but you will not accept any kind of victimization.”
“The key of your popularity rests on the principles that you defend, against anyone and everyone, without ever raising your voice, and that eventually convinces everyone.”
“Like the great majority of the French population: we love you, Madam. You are most welcome in the chair of Racine who spoke so well of love.”
… Who always remained close to OSE
“The story of OSE is the story of Jewish children, some of who were still in their cribs, who were the victims of a relentless pursuit. Ripped out of their homes where they had found refuge, dragged inside those dark trains of death, they experienced the worst anguish and distress before meeting their final destiny.
They often shared those destinies with the doctors, teachers, and employees of OSE, who chose to stay by their side and die with them.
But the story of OSE, is also one of a relentless fight, both lucid and courageous, to save Jewish children. We are most grateful to the men and women which, often at the cost of their lives, took action against the executioners and snatched their victims away from them. And we mustn’t forget that, alongside them, stood many non-Jewish French, whose courage and benevolence allowed so many children to escape from the genocide.
Numerous survivors of the extermination never saw their parents again. Awoken from this nightmare, they had to learn how to live again. Today, by what they have become, they embody the very idea of the triumph of good over evil.”
Simone Veil, ex Minister, ex Chairman of the European Parliament
- December, 5th of 1993: For OSE’s 80th anniversary, Simone Veil presented a conference called “Memory and Future”. This memorable anniversary brought together 1,500 people, and most of the former children survivors of Buchenwald.
- May 2000: Extract of the PREFACE from the book “Lendemains” by Madam Simone Veil
“May 1945. War has ended. And yet, the task of OSE is far from being over. The association helped the children survive, but it is not sufficient; now she wants to give them the will and joy to live.
OSE tries very hard to give all of the children she was entrusted with the most normal life possible, in spite of the traumas from the years before and the uncertainties that their future holds.
By creating the newspaper “Lendemains”, OSE gave them the freedom, the space that allowed them to face it all. Fifty years later, reading “Lendemains” stirs profound emotions, and it is the opportunity to honor the admirable action of OSE, which knew how to turn those lost youngsters just out of concentration camp into men.”
- November, 12th and 13th of 2008: The picture below was taken in La Sorbonne, Paris for Elie Wiesel’s 80th birthday: both OSE and the Elie-Wiesel University Institute of Jewish Studies had organized in his honor the conference “Read, Study after the catastrophe” in La Sorbonne.